'flatten itself upon the water and shoot off across
the bay. There he sits, she thought, and the
children are quite silent still. And she could not
reach him either. The sympathy she had not
given him weighed her down. It made it difficult
for her to paint.
She had always found him difficult. She had
never been able to praise him to his face, she
remembered. And that reduced their relationship
to something neutral, without that element of sex
in it which made his manner to Minta so gallant,
almost gay. He would pick a flower for her, lend
her his books. But could he believe that Minta
read them? She dragged them about the garden,
sticking in leaves to mark the place.
" D'you remember, Mr. Carmichael?" she
was inclined to ask, looking at the old man. But
he had pulled his hat half over his forehead; he
was asleep, or he was dreaming, or he was lying
there catching words, she supposed.
" D'you remember? " she felt inclined to ask
him as she passed him, thinking again of Mrs.
Ramsay on the beach; the cask bobbing up and
down; and the pages flying. Why, after all these
years had that survived, ringed round, lit up,
visible to the last detail, with all before it blank
and all after it blank, for miles and miles?
" Is it a boat? Is it a cork? " she would say,